Settlement of Rhyolite, Nevada
Prior to August 1904, there were just three families living thirty-five miles north and fifty
miles south of what is known today as Beatty, Nevada. They were M M Beatty, after whom the town of Beatty was
named; G W Howell, who had a small ranch ten miles up the Amargosa river; and "Panamint Joe," a Shoshone Indian,
and a few of his tribe who were camped a short distance above Howell's. Trails were few and indistinct and only an
occasional weary prospector would be seen.
By August 1905, within this radius of eighty-five miles there were not less than 4,000 people;
there were the towns of Rhyolite, Bullfrog, Beatty, all substantial, growing, and thriving towns, and the smaller
ones of Gold Center and Crystal Springs. As good roads as could be found anywhere replaced the indistinct trails
with stages going and coming from Goldfield on the north, and Las Vegas on the south, supplemented by not less than
a dozen daily automobiles to obtain a passage in which had to be booked ahead.
This transformation was due to the discovery of gold by Ed Cross and "Shorty" Harris, two
prospectors whom fortune had not treated very kindly. They had been working at the Keene Wonder mine in the Funeral
range with no luck and decided to head for Goldfield. On the way to Goldfield they stopped at Buck's springs and
camped. While prospecting around the area they stumbled upon the Original Bullfrog in August 1904. The outcropping
from which showed high values in free gold. Taking some specimens they continued on their way to Goldfield to have
assays made, adding another bonanza to Nevada's list.
A stampede followed and soon the hills surrounding the new find were filled with eager
prospectors. The discoveries of the Ladd and Benson, the Denver, the National Bank and several others followed in
rapid succession, but it wasn't until November 1904 when the excitement reached its zenith with the discovery of a
nice ore chute on the Shoshone, or the Montgomery as it is better know.
At first the original Bullfrog was the center of attention which swept in a widening circle to
the south. Town after town sprung to life and dwindled to nothingness as new discovery after new discovery lured
the miner still further on and on. But finally the center of the magic circle was reached, and Rhyolite, a mile to
the north, having captured the wandering population, became the central city of the southern desert. Dug-outs,
tents and adobe house were the first dwellings of the new civilization.
Credit is due Clark, Benson, and Ladd of the founding of Bullfrog. It was their money that
staked the persistent prospectors who, travelling on and on, enduring hardships almost unendurable, cutting the
tops from their boots and strapping them to their feet when the original boot-soles were worn through, carrying
water for miles on rounded shoulders, bending over every promising ledge, keeping continually at it until they
finally located the district which "looked good enough to them." Then their "grubstakers" came to the front and
capital poured into the district to develop it.
After the townsite of Bullfrog was platted, lots were offered to those who would come down.
There was one man that was not included in the general invitation. He was the camp-mate of Frank Busch and because
of some misunderstanding between him and the organizers he was left out. Frank Busch declined the lot offered him,
and formulated a plan to start an opposition townsite. He didn't have any money, but was able to borrow $300 with
which to found Rhyolite. Rhyolite was platted during February 1905.
Rhyolite Nevada May 30, 1905. Nothing more than a tent city.